Calling all the thousands and thousands of people who have sailed on board the much loved Yorkshire Belle over the last seventy years. The family who run the boat are asking for help in gathering memories, photographs and anecdotes from the past decades.
The joint skippers of the Yorkshire Belle, father and son team Peter and Sam Richardson have asked The Echo to appeal to readers for help in rekindling memories and digging out old pictures of the boat. The famous Bridlington-based boat reaches a memorable milestone as she celebrates her 70th birthday this May.
The first Yorkshire Belle was unfortunately hit by a mine in 1941, only three years after being launched. This boat sank, sadly with all hands lost, whilst patrolling the River Humber. During that time she was being used by the Royal Navy as a patrol boat in World War Two.
The current Yorkshire Belle was launched on Wednesday 22nd May 1947 having been built in a Beverley shipyard on the banks of the river Hull, by ship builders Cook, Welton and Gemmell Ltd She arrived in Bridlington just over a week later after her route took her down river to Hull, then on to the Humber, and then northwards on to the open sea to her permanent home.
Interestingly, she was designed and built to operate from Bridlington Harbour, with attention paid to her dimensions. She has operated without fail every year since her arrival in 1947, with her working season running from Easter to the end of September/October.
Skipper Peter said ” To my knowledge there can be few boats such as the Belle operating out of one port for its entire working life”
Peter explained “Often boats are bought and moved to new ports during their lifetime, so given the number of seasons that the Belle has taken passengers to see the cliffs and lighthouse at Flamborough or the seabirds at the Bempton RSPB reserve , there must be many memories of the past seventy years just waiting to be heard.”
To mark the 70th anniversary the Richardsons are planning to celebrate in style. A specially chartered cruise will set sail in late May, as near to the original birthday date as they can.
The family are also hoping to have some 70th year merchandise available to mark the momentous occasion.
Echo readers are urged to start to trawl their memories as well as their photo albums and help the Belle crew gather as much written and photographic history as they can.
Echo readers are asked to message through the Facebook page which is www.facebook.com/yorkshire.belle or use the contact form on the website www.yorkshire-belle.co.uk
At this stage stories and photos can only be submitted digitally and will be displayed on social media. The Richardson family are looking to hold an exhibition of the best images and stories locally, but more details will be available over the coming months.